There’s this infamous company in Canada, Ashley Madison, which hosts a purportedly secret online dating service for people who are married or in a committed relationship. The company’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Customers pay Ashley Madison to help them have extra marital affairs and one night stands.
On July 15th of this year hackers stole the company’s “secret” customer data—including email addresses, names, home addresses, sexual fantasies and credit card information. At the time, Hackers said they would release the information to the public if Ashley Madison did not permanently shut down. On July 22nd, the company released just the first names of the customers. When the company did not comply with the demands of the hackers, they released all of the information on Aug 18th.
The fall out has been huge with ordinary people to celebrities such as Josh Duggar being outed for cheating on their spouses.
The Toronto police department even reported that two people committed suicide because they were outed by the hackers. The Toronto police department blamed the hackers stating this would “not be tolerated”.
Normally, I agree that hacking is wrong. It’s typically used to gain access to personal information for financial gains. I feel like this situation is different. I agree with the hackers that the company is abominable. They make money while facilitating the breakup of marriages and families. I think justice has been served.
Most people are standing by the fact that hacking is illegal, and that what these hackers did was wrong because they have ruined millions of lives. I agree that hacking is illegal and should be. But I do not believe the hackers are responsible for ruining the lives of the adulterers. Rather, those committing adultery are responsible for ruining their own lives. They made conscious choices to do something they were very aware would harm their spouse, their children, and ultimately themselves.
I am going to speak as a Christian in an appeal to other Christians. I believe that as Christians it is imperative for us to recognize what is wrong and damaging to families and to society and call it out. We need to make judgments so that we can understand what is good and what is bad. Sadly, as a society we have been bullied into a place where we won’t say something is right or wrong because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We cower at the being called names, and our unwillingness to face the criticism of those calling us judgmental or bigoted or hateful has led to a whole host of societal ills.
Ashley Madison would not exist if there weren’t enough corrupt people willing to pay for it. Companies can only exist if there is enough of a market to be profitable. Along the same lines, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many mothers and fathers willing to sacrifice the very life of their children for the sake of lust and convenience.
I look around me and see that as a society we have given our compassion to the people selfishly destroying life and family instead of those who have had their lives and families destroyed. The people who need our compassion are the husbands and wives whose marriages have been shattered by infidelity, the sons and daughters who are left without a mother or a father because of the resulting divorce, and the babies that never breathed because their parents did not want them.
Just 60 years ago, compassion was given to the real victims and as a result more people considered the consequences before breaking apart their families or taking the lives of their unborn children. The pressure to live a chaste life meant that life and family were cherished. Now, individual choice is cherished, and life and family are discarded.
To Christians, I say, make a choice. Is what we say and how we judge saving lives and strengthening families, or is it promoting (quietly or openly) the destruction of life and the breakdown of families? Those who hacked into the Ashley Madison website, may have committed a crime, but they also made an important statement about marriage and family. They stood up for love and fidelity. We can to, and we don’t even need to break the law to do so. We just need to speak.